- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 20, 2020

President Trump’s recent posts on Twitter about declassifying all “Russia Hoax” documents were not orders authorizing their release, White House Chief of Staff Mark R. Meadows clarified Tuesday.

Mr. Meadows explained the president’s tweets in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court after U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton requested clarification from the Trump administration.

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,” Mr. Trump tweeted Oct. 6. “No redactions!”

“All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago,” Mr. Trump said in another tweet that same day.

Responding to Judge Walton, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, Mr. Meadows said the pair of tweets did not warrant releasing documents sought by news groups suing the administration.

“The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassifications orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,” replied Mr. Meadows, including namely material prepared as part of the investigation of the 2016 election conducted by former special counsel Robert Mueller for the U.S. Department of Justice.

SEE ALSO: Federal judge asks President Trump to clarify tweet about declassifying ‘Russian Hoax’ documents

Several news groups have sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act with the goal of gaining access to material from the Mueller probe, which concluded Russia interfered in the race.

The president’s tweets about having authorized the declassification of all “Russia Hoax” material accordingly prompted the plaintiffs to renew their case and push for the release of the documents.

Mr. Meadows said the president was referring to the authorization he provided the attorney general, William P. Barr, “to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election” and related matters.

“The President’s statements do not require altering any redactions on any record at issue in these or any other cases,” Mr. Meadows added.

Judge Walton has scheduled another hearing over the matter for Wednesday.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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